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For a sensitive form of art criticism

logo anglaisHow do you see your role as an art critic?

Is there anything special about fulfilling this role in a Caribbean context

The Aica Caraïbe du sud blog invites you to publish your analysis.


For a sensitive form of art criticism.

                                                        Scarlett JESUS, art critic.

When publishing my articles, I have two aims. On the one hand, I aim to contribute to the emergence of a form of art criticism which has long been lacking and which is needed to accompany visual artists’ work in order to reveal them to an audience, who will benefit from its insights. I also aim to report on artistic news in Guadeloupe, in particular in the field of contemporary art, and to situate this activity by offering literary openings for it, establishing a relationship similar to the “encounter” as conceived by GLISSANT.

Totally independent, I do not aim to achieve exhaustiveness or objectivity in my writing work. My writing is the result of freely made choices. The choice whether or not to talk about an artist through a given event is one of these. The choice to openly display my subjectivity, by revealing the very nature of the emotion I feel in front of such a work, is another. The choice, specific to the literary genre that is the essay, to let my mind wander freely, “hopping and skipping”, to borrow the terms used by MONTAIGNE.

What are the guiding principles of my writing? Firstly, I would say that my approach proceeds by receiving a work and the personal resonances it creates in me. This approach proceeds by enquiry, with a series of hypotheses. Through the intermediary of my critical thinking, I aim to co-produce a work that in fact eludes its creator. My challenge is to give it meaning. Not by revealing its meaning, but by giving it one possible meaning among others, a meaning that will be the result of a construction, and where the context (spatial, temporal or even the chosen mise en scène) also plays a role.

Finally, I would add that wishing to define the characteristics of artistic practices that could be described as Guadeloupean or Caribbean cannot be reduced to illustrating a certain number of themes, without falling back on stereotypes. On the contrary, it is only by looking for the uniqueness in each artist that one can hope to perceive a way of being in the world that belongs specifically to these artists.

My role as an art critic must therefore not be confused with that of the journalist, or that of the art historian or theoretician. Nor does my writing provide an account of the views the artist could have about their own creation. Sometimes it may enlighten them, and also surprise or even baffle them, in turn raising new questions. In this sense, it is a case of the critic establishing a dialogue with the artist. A dialogue between creation and reception – a plural reception if possible – and then between this reception and new creations.  This is in keeping with an aesthetic which, superimposed onto the many different layers, resembles a palimpsest. Or indeed the fold so dear to DELEUZE.                        


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